Hello ladies and gentlemen.
Today I’m going to do something I like to do from time to time here, but haven’t done in a while.
I’m going to get a little bit… motivational. I’m so pumped I couldn’t get myself through the title of this article without some good ol’ fashioned cursing.
But first, some backstory.
I started this blog back in 2009, when I was in my third year of medical school, and had just decided to ditch a career in surgery for one in psychiatry. At that time it was called “The Psychosphere.”
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with it or what I wanted to write, and didn’t even really know what I was talking about. All I knew is that I felt totally, utterly compelled to start writing something.
So I started writing… and immediately became terrified. What if someone actually read what I wrote? What if they didn’t like it? I was afraid of the exposure, and also the obligation (ie committment), that a creative project like this requires.
Over the next three years I wrote on and off. I’d start to get some traction, then get scared and self-critical and abandon the site for a while. I even relaunched in 2012 as “Zen Psychiatry” (to reflect my new interest and focus), got a bunch of attention, kept it up for a few months… and then promptly stopped writing for the next eight months.
Was this time wasted? I don’t think so. I was learning that any meaningful, creative endeavor requires not only skill, but chutzpah. I was learning to fight my resistance. I was learning that I could feel afraid, but create anyway.
Then, around July of this year, something shifted. I had just come back from the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, and was feeling pumped by all the positive energy and enthusiasm, but it wasn’t only that. It was just time for me to get off my ass and start doing something already.
I started looking at writing like a job. Not in a bad way, but in a show-up-even-if-you-don’t-feel-like-it way. I started to commit. I turned pro.
And all of the sudden, I started getting major traction. I doubled my readership and subscribers. I was recently featured in Forbes, and have a Huffington Post article in the works.
I’ve connected with dozens of like-minded healthcare practitioners and entrepreneurs all over the country. I now have more opportunities that I have time or energy to take advantage of (not exactly a bad position to be in).
All this brings me to a quote I recently came across, which I absolutely love. Get your reading glasses on (hopefully you have them on already?) because this one’s worth reading all the way through (emphasis mine):
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. –Theodore Roosevelt
It’s easy to be a critic, but hard to be a creator.
It’s easy to brainstorm ideas, but hard to execute them.
It’s easy to come up with a name, but hard to turn that name into a business that creates value for lots of people.
It’s easy to dream, but hard to change the world.
So get off your ass and create something, already!
You will fail at times, but do it anyway.
You may be criticized, cajoled, and taunted, but do it anyway.
You will face your own fear and insecurity, but do it anyway.
It will be an insane amount of work (way more than you think), but do it anyway.
Photo by Jacob White